Arbroath v Annan
Annan are in danger of slipping out of the play off zone after going down to in form and transformed Arbroath at Gayfield Park on Saturday. Manager Jim Chapman has seen his teams League form slip with only one league victory in their last five matches and this latest defeat along with Elgin City’s victory leaves Annan’s title aspirations up in the air. The Annan line up showed changes from the team that went down to East Fife with Greig McDonald and Steven Swinglehurst given a start with Ryan McStay and Ryan Finnie being relegated to the bench, recent on loan signing Jordan Morton missed the game due to a hamstring injury.
The first half was a fairly uneventful spectacle for the fans, scoring chances were limited with both defences on top with scoring opportunities being limited. The clearest chance of the half fell to Annan’s Peter Weatherson in the 11th minute when presented with an opportunity 20 yards out but his attempted lob over the stranded keeper failed to go over the keepers arms. Minutes later a promising move down the right ended with a Josh Todd cross to the back post.
Annan were forced to make a change in the 20th minute when the injured Swinglehurst had to leave the field to be replaced by Gilfillan. Arbroath forced the first corner of the game in the 22nd minute. Weatherson’s 27th minute effort from 30 yards went past the post and minutes later Rabin Omar and Josh Todd carved open the Arbroath defence down the right with the well struck cross which was well defended by the Lichties defence.
Arbroath won their second corner in the 31st minute with Hart clutching Ramsay’s corner. Gillfillan denied Linn with a timely tackle on the Arbroath forward which forced another corner kick and from the resulting corner Josh Skelly headed over the bar from 8 yards. It was a rare scoring opportunity missed for the home team. A promising run down the left by Jordan Lowden ended with a dangerous cross which was well defended. Arbroath were presented with a late opportunity after Gillfillan conceded a free kick on the edge of the box but Darren Ramsey’s effort failed to trouble Hart.
Arbroath started the second half with a bang scoring within a minute. Annan conceded a poor free kick wide on the right and from the kick Craig Watson somehow managed to get in front of the Annan defenders to get the vital header which floated over Hart and into the top corner of the net. The goal gave the home team the lift but Annan responded well with a move down the left which saw Martin McNiff power past his marker to home in on goal but his shot failed to seriously test keeper Allan Fleming. Todd then tried his luck but his effort skied over the bar.
Arbroath doubled their advantage in the 60th minute and it was a goal Annan will want to forget. A searching ball down the right saw Hart run to the edge of the box to cut out the penetrating ball and run by Linn but Hart’s clearance slammed off McNiff who was running in towards the Annan keeper. It was an unfortunate goal for Annan to concede but it gave Arbroath a 2 goal cushion.
The introduction of Kane Hester in the 71st minute gave the home team a new threat up front and within minutes his net bound shot was tipped over the bar by Hart and minutes later Hart saved Hester’s well struck shot.
Annan pushed forward for the last ten minutes. Osadolor’s 80th minute header went past the post. Weatherson was then denied in the 84th minute by a superb Fleming save from his 20 yard free kick with the keeper somehow tipping his effort over the bar. From the resulting corner Annan won a corner when Craig Watson handled the corner and Weatheson’s strike straight down the middle gave the keeper no chance. Arbroath had to sustain an anxious ending to the game as Annan pushed the home team back. The victory pushes Arbroath up the league and leaves Annan searching for a victory to kick start their play off aspirations.
ARBROATH :Allan Fleming, Craig Wison, Jordan Lowden, Ricky Little, Craig Watson, Mark Whatley, Bobby Linn,David Gold ,Greg Rutherford,John Skelly (Kane Hester 71 min) Darren Ramsay. Subs not used Andy Munro,Jamie Reid, Sergio Alvarez, Martin Grehan, Keiran Stewart, Calum Broadie.
Arbroath goals- Watson (46) McNiff og (58)
ANNAN ATHLETIC : Jordan Hart, Steven Black (R Finnie 61 min), Steven Swinglehurst (B Gillfillan 20 min), Martin McNiff, Peter Watson, Steven Sloan, Rabin Omar , Mathew Flynn, Peter Weatherson , Josh Todd, Greig McDonald ( S Osadolor 66 min), Subs not used Blair Currie, Ryan McStay, Stuart McColm, Liam Park.
Annan goals- Weatherson (88)
REFEREE : Mike Roncone ASSISTANTS Ivan Stankovic